Thesis: Pity, like crueltly - true cruelty - the kind that comes from the inside and rejoices in others sufferings - stems from masochism and man's need for feeling misery.
When a person pities, they sink to the level of the person who is suffering because they desire to feel the same pain. This idea is nothing new. Neitszsche and Ayn Rand had it right. The evening news are just a way for emotionaly starved people to feel pain at others misfortunes and at all bad things happening in the world. These people who watch the news desire to feel pain, they crave it as nothing in their miserable, small minded little lives bring them more joy, why do you think the evening news mentions only negative things? They have a following of people who need the suffering they bring and that these people crave. Similarly pity for another person is a way for emotionally starved people to feel close to each other, to feel pain. Similarly people who are cruel and laugh at others pain and suffering are masochists. It would be typically thought that such a person is a sadist. But when you think about it, a person's capacity to rejoice in others happiness is a form of sadism - the person who rejoices in others happiness feels that happiness in themselves, too. Just like this person then, the masochist who bullies someone weaker than he is and rejoices at his capacity to cause pain feels the pain of the person they bully. Which is why they often keep it up - because it works as a dispenser of msiery- for both parties.
But why all this need for pain? Why, if the human animal is a pleasure seeking machine, what would cause one to seek pain, either consciously or unconsciously? There could be several causes for this. First of all is the identification with the aggressor. People have been vampirised themselves in the past, and they dont understand, and the only way they can understand is by relating to those who have sucked their blood. Second, Theres the fact humans need closeness and togetherness. By feeling others pain you become closer to them. Thirdly, and perhaps most importantly, we as humans seek strong sensations, and pain is one of them. There are many kinds of emotional pain, but all of them jump start our nervous system and get our life blood flowing again. We are not after all, pleasure or happiness seeking machines. We seek to live, first of all, to be happy is not our end as human beings; this might be hard to conceive in a society were we are so squeemish and used to seeking our flat happniess and safety.
That being said, id like to add, if it isnt already implied -I would NOT like to meet a masochist who practices the golden rule!
So...Any thoughts? Agree? Disagree?